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Difference Between Toilet Drain Snake and Auger – How to Use Them?

All of us have had to face the ordeal of a clogged, overflowing toilet at some point in time. The situation is annoying, gross, and, unfortunately, inevitable. However, tools like toilet augers and toilet snakes can help homeowners take the situation into their own hands and solve the issue. In addition, the tools themselves cost much less than the amount you would have to pay a plumber each time this situation arises over the years and are a worthwhile investment towards the upkeep of your home. Below is the guide on Toilet Auger vs Snake and how to use them. Read on and get the appropriate one that fits your requirement.

Drain Toilet Auger vs Snake

Functionally, the two devices work the same. Both consist of a cable that rotates with the help of an attached handle and is used to remove clogs from drains. However, a toilet auger acts more effectively for this purpose than the drain snake, which usually has cables of a smaller diameter than the former. Their tips don’t look very different, but those of a toilet auger tend to be larger, which allows them to twist into and remove clogs that occupy more space. It also makes them more useful for tackling blockages in pipes of larger diameters.

A toilet auger is designed to push its way through and demolish the obstruction in the path of the water flow. On the other hand, a drain snake for toilet is fashioned in a way that allows the user to locate and pull out the object causing the clog. It is equipped with a special hook at its tip that latches on to the object and allows the user to retrieve it, thus clearing the drain.

Clogs can be removed with the help of a drain snake; however, it often leaves disfiguring scratches on the porcelain on the bottom of the toilet bowl. Therefore, the tips of the toilet auger are equipped with special bowl guards that don’t damage the toilet bowl.

Drain snakes, being the smaller counterparts of toilet augers, are more effective in removing clots from smaller drains like sinks and bathtubs.

Toilet augers are ideal for use in toilets and provide mechanical assistance by pushing the coil through the drain. However, they have the drawback of being more expensive and much bulkier than drain snakes. On the other hand, Drain snakes have the disadvantage of being more delicate.

How to Use a Toilet Drain Auger to Unclog a Toilet?

The toilet auger is a simple hand tool with a metal cable that ends at a smooth angle at the bottom. Attached to a rotating handle on the other end. It also has a rubber sleeve on its lower portion that prevents it from scratching the toilet bowl. It can easily be used to clear blockages in toilets by adhering to the following steps:

  1. Insert the toilet auger cable into the toilet bowl. Be mindful of keeping the cable close to the curved bottom end of the auger tube as it makes the feeding of the cable into the toilet easier.
  2. Feed the cable into the toilet till you can no longer see the end of the auger cable.
  3. Use one hand to hold the auger housing, keep it in place, and keep the other hand on the handle.
  4. Crank the device’s handle with a screwing motion to move it further into the drain. You may need to reverse the direction of rotation a couple of times during the exercise.
  5. Keep cranking the handle in one direction until the cable feeds further into the drain. Switch to cracking it in the other direction till the auger handle is tight against the top of the auger tube.
  6. When the cable has reached its full extension and located the clog, you will feel resistance.
  7. Push the cable through the clog and clear it by rotating the handle and pulling in the backward direction.
  8. When the tip of the auger is tight against the tube, it indicates that the clog has been broken down and cleared. At this point, remove the cable from the toilet bowl. Rise and wipe it dry.
  9. Flush the toilet to check whether the drain has been cleared or not. If necessary, repeat the process and flush it several times.

You are advised to wear gloves while carrying out the aforementioned process. Excessive force while using this tool can prove counterproductive as it can result in cracking or chipping of the porcelain of the toilet bowl or even damage or breaking the pipe.

How to Use a Snake on a Toilet to Unclog?

A drain snake is essentially a miniature version of a toilet auger and functions similarly. It is easy to use and effective in clearing blockages in smaller drains. You can do this easily with the help of the following guide on how do you snake a toilet:

  1. Spread some towels or newspapers in the area surrounding your toilet to minimize the mess on your bathroom floor in case of an overflow.
  2. Use your hand to insert the head of the cable into the drain and then further into the pipe.
  3. Turn the crank manually with a twisting motion to ease it further into the pipe and towards the source of the clot.
  4. Tighten the screw that is holding the table to its housing.
  5. Rotate the cable in a clockwise direction. Apply slight pressure to feed the cable deeper into the drain.
  6. As you reach the clog, you will feel resistance on the line, either from the bend in the pipe or from the object causing the obstruction.
  7. Retract the cable by hand to extract the debris from the drain.
  8. If the debris remains in the pipe until the clog is cleared, repeat the process.
  9. Flush down the drain and check whether the clog remains.

5 Types of Toilet Augers

There are many types of toilet augers, and a user can pick the kind that best suits their needs. They are listed as follows:

1. Closet Auger

These are suitable for use in toilets. They consist of a flexible tube, the most flexible out of all the different types of toilet augers. This allows you to twist and bend more to make reaching the clog easier. These are available as manual cable-type tools as well as powered ones.

2. Power Auger

This tool is much like the closet auger in function and design but is differentiated from it by using a motor to power its function. The motor feeds the tube down the drain while twisting it faster than a closet auger because it is motor-powered. This makes it highly effective in busting through tight and stubborn clogs while being much more comfortable to use.

3. Drum Auger

This type of toilet auger consists of a drum-shaped container meant to store the long cables used to unclog deeper drains. It has an automatic feed that allows you to reach and tackle the clog with ease and efficacy.

4. Telescoping Auger

This particular kind of auger is best suited for clogs that couldn’t be dislodged with a closet auger. It has an additional 3′ of cable and is extremely useful for breaking down blockages lodged deeper down the drains.

5. Rocket Nozzle Auger

A rocket nozzle auger is more suited for commercial applications and is frequently used by professional plumbers. It shoots high-pressure water jets to clear stubborn clogs and is used when all other methods fail. Also, it quickly removes the obstructions by breaking down anything that lies in the path of the high-pressure sweater stream. It can be used to clear pipes up to 8-10 inches in diameter. However, despite its higher efficacy, it is much more expensive than the other toilet augers.


With the help of these augers and snakes, users can take control of their homes and stay on top of maintenance. In addition, by choosing the tool best suited to your needs, you can save a lot of money and hassle in the wrong run.